Mr. Speaker, February 12 commemorates the day on which the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict entered into force as international law. Hundreds of thousands of children have been robbed of their childhood, killed, maimed, raped, drugged and otherwise abused and forced to do the same to their families and communities while under the direction of adult combatants. Soldiering is not a career option for a seven-year-old who is barely taller than his gun. In spite of international law, this tragedy continues to unfold in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma, Sudan and others.
As we mark the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, let us commit to ending the use of children in armed conflict and criminal activities and let our actions speak louder than our words. Our friend and colleague, Senator Roméo Dallaire, has worked tirelessly on this issue. He has been a world leader in the fight against the use of child soldiers. In partnership with Dalhousie University, he has led research on failing states, as well as conducted training for military police—